New images, which have just been released by Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, provide a unique insight into the latest redevelopment works at the historic Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre.
Key features to be revealed include a magnificent new skylight, the exposure of 200-year-old timbers and the construction of a new balcony in the Studio Theatre.
Works are now well underway in the Grade One-listed Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, formerly the Prince Regent’s Riding house, to restore breath-taking and previously hidden heritage features as well as provide increased capacity seating, a magnificent new viewing gallery and a creative space for artists to rehearse and develop work. Major improvements to the Studio Theatre – once a supper room – will include balcony seating, new bar facilities and a street level café opening out onto New Road.
Recent developments captured in the new photographs include:
- Installation of a glass skylight above the new public gallery area, which will have a new bar and offer views into the Corn Exchange.
- Revealing of 200-year-old timbers which form the unique Corn Exchange roof dating back to Prince Regent’s original use of the building as a stable for his horses.
- Construction of a new balcony in the Studio Theatre to give a more intimate feel to this versatile space.
Photographer Carlotta Luke said: “I have been watching with interest how the steel beams were being installed in the gallery area over the past few months, so on my most recent visit it was exciting to see them now supporting the new glass roof. The bright white paint helps to bring the light flooding in to this new space. I was impressed with how well the contrast of the modern and functional structure works with the delicate tracery of the original windows and the old brick walls.”
“For me, one of the most striking features of the Corn Exchange has always been the wooden struts that make up the great expanse of the roof. From the first time that I photographed the building over a year ago, I have been fascinated by the pattern they make across this huge room, accentuating how large the space actually is. It was interesting to see them change over the past few months as the old white paint was painstakingly stripped off to reveal the two hundred-year-old timber. The old wood of the ceiling adds so much to the beauty of the space below.”
“The Studio Theatre has recently started to change quite dramatically as the steel foundations for the new balconies go up. One can begin to get a sense of how intimate it will feel as a performance space, in contrast to the grandness of the Corn Exchange.”
The works at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre are the first phase of a wider project to re-affirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate as a key cultural destination by equipping it for a sustainable future. The longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic Estate created by George IV in the early 19th century to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts which reflects the unique spirit of Brighton.
The project will develop, deepen and broaden the cultural tourism offer of Brighton & Hove and significantly contribute to the city’s cultural and economic wellbeing. It is anticipated that the revitalised Royal Pavilion Estate will support 1,241 FTE jobs and have an economic impact of up to £68m.
- The Creative Space: a new area dedicated to artists and production teams, creating potential for use of workshops, community events and rehearsal space, with new facilities such as a self-contained rehearsal room.
- Viewing Gallery: Overlooking the Corn Exchange, the new top lit viewing gallery will flood the area with natural light, space and a new gallery bar. The space will be open to the public and there will be innovative displays about our history and heritage.
- Welcome Area: A new visitor entrance on New Road will open up the building and make a visit more welcoming and accessible. Innovative exhibition displays will tell visitors about Brighton Dome’s trail blazing performance history.
- The Hall: The Corn Exchange entrance on Church Street will also be revived into a bright and airy space.
- Brighton Dome Corn Exchange: Alongside the restoration of lost heritage features including the original timber and cast-iron trussed roof, new features will be installed to improve comfort, such as new cooling and heating systems. Improvements will also include new retractable seating, as well as balcony seats, improved technical equipment, sub-floor storage and enhanced acoustic and thermal insulation.
- Brighton Dome Studio Theatre: New cooling and heating systems will improve comfort as well as improved access. New retractable seating will ensure the space can be used for a range of events. A brand-new café-bar will open out onto New Road with terrace seating.
For more information about the project visit: https://brightondome.org/our_future/
With 90% of Phase One funding now in place – including significant donations from the National Lottery through Arts Council England (ACE) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and the Coast to Capital Local Growth fund – a community appeal is currently underway to raise £250,000 to help complete the transformational project. To donate to the Build Brighton Dome Community Appeal visit https://build.brightondome.org/